Microsoft has today announced that it will be releasing a preview edition of Internet Explorer 10 for Windows 7 users in mid-November. A release date of the final, finished version of the web browser has yet to be revealed.
While the announcement might seem like good news for Windows 7 users yearning an upgrade from Internet Explorer 9, there could be some annoyance at Microsoft’s sluggishness. After all, Internet Explorer 10 will ship to all users of Windows 8 from the new operating system’s launch date at the end of October, and people have been using the preview version of Windows 8 since August this year – so as Ars Technica points out, IE10 is to all intents and purposes a finished product. So for Windows 7 users to be getting a mere preview in mid-November, with no word on a full version, that could be seen as being treated as second best.
However, Microsoft could have good reason for its delay. Windows 8 supports Direct3D 11.1, while Windows 7 supports 11.0 of the application interface. So, should IE10 required Direct3D 11.1, it may require some tweaking to run on Windows 7.
Windows 7 users have had some experience with IE10 already, via a Platform Preview released in June 2011, but the experience is nothing like the final, full browser (there isn’t even a back button, for instance). Sound like there’ll have their first true taste within a few weeks.
The social network seeks to capitalize on users' desires with a controversial new click that could help Facebook monetize its massive membership
The Week - October 9, 2012,
The Facebook "like" symbol at the company's headquarters in Menlo Park, Calif.: The social network is reportedly testing a new button that would appear on websites for retailers like Pottery Barn, giving users the option to "want" items and make them show up on their News Feed. Photo: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images
Since it launched two years ago, Facebook's "like" button — the one that now appears nearly everywhere you look on the internet — has been a resounding success. The social network boasts that over 1.13 trillion of the little blue thumb icons have been clicked since the feature made its debut as part of Facebook's Open Graph platform, giving the company's data team access to a massive trove of consumer tastes and preferences. Now according to Reuters, Mark Zuckerberg and his cohorts are testing a "want" button as Facebook looks to extend its revenue streams beyond advertising. But will the social network's notoriously resistant-to-change users take kindly to the new feature? Here's what you should know:
How would the "want" button work?
It would be placed next to images of home furnishings, clothing, and other retail products that consumers, well, want, allowing them to create wish lists, says Alex Oreskovic at Reuters. For these initial stages, Facebook is testing the new button with seven retailers, including Pottery Barn and Victoria's Secret. "People will be able to engage with these collections and share things they are interested in with their friends," Facebook said in a statement. "People can click through and buy these items off of Facebook." Facebook is calling the new feature Collections, and is currently testing buttons for "want," "like," and "collect" to see which triggers the most desirable results (although it's reportedly set on "want"). Whenever a user clicks one of these buttons, that item would then show up in their News Feed for their friends to see — and maybe even click on themselves.
Why a new button?
The social network wants to capitalize on its 1 billion-plus users, and moving into e-commerce would put the company in direct competition with rivals like Amazon. Though actual rates weren't disclosed, Facebook could presumably take a cut from any purchases made through this feature if users follows through on their demonstrated "wants." "E-commerce is one of the best ways to monetize the internet," analyst Colin Sebastian of Robert W. Baird tells Reuters. "Thinking about how large they are as a platform and how engaged people are, there are lots of levers they haven't pulled yet in terms of monetization."
Is it really a good idea?
Facebook needs to please its investors, who have been wary of the site's financial prospects ever since its stock prices began plummeting after its initial public offering. Moving into e-commerce may just appease Wall Street. Users, however, might not take very kindly to it, says Matt Miller at Forbes. A "want" button would be a "fundamental change in the atmosphere of the site." Users go to Facebook to "feel like individuals" — "we don't want to feel like a dollar sign."
Many of us will give sacrifice our privacy for a bar of chocolate, writes Raj Samani.
The Telegraph 17th October 2012
How much is your personal data worth? In terms of a monetary value, how much would you expect to receive for a simple name, address, and other contact details? Sadly, the answer to this question for many is, ‘not very much’. This was highlighted during a promotional stunt I saw at a shopping centre, where a chocolate manufacturer were giving small Easter eggs to people willing to give away this valuable data. The queue for ‘free’ chocolate was about 40 deep, and I barely saw anybody read the large sign that detailed what this company may do with such data.
In today’s digital world, the disparity between the perceived value of personal data, and its actual value is arguably at its widest. When the Information Commissioner’s Office published the reports ‘What Price Privacy’ and ‘What Price Privacy Now’, uncovering the unlawful trade in confidential personal information their investigation found that a simple name and address check would cost almost £20, but it seems a simple bar of chocolate would have been sufficient.
Aside from the potentially damaging effects this culture may have on the likelihood of these consumers being a victim of identity theft, quite simply consumers are failing to realize and unlock the true value of their information. One possible solution is to develop a degree of transparency that allows the consumer to know what data is held about them.
Such an approach is cited within the Midata initiative that aims “at giving consumers access to the data created through their household utility use, banking, internet transactions and high street loyalty cards”. The recent consultation run by the Department of Business Innovation & Skills explored the option of going beyond the voluntary approach, considering the introduction of legislation. (I should also mention my engagement with the Midata Interoperability board).
There is no doubt that transparency is important step to address the general lack of awareness about the implications of giving away such information. Disclosing information in the digital world leaves a permanent record of every alcohol fuelled ramble, every overreaction to minor criticism, and so on.
Sir Tim Berners-Lee accuses government of 'draconian' internet snooping
06 Sep 2012
New etiquette needed for digital age
24 Aug 2012
Google to pay $22.5M fine over Apple Safari
11 Jul 2012
Therefore learning about what information about me is held by the companies I interact with should begin to raise awareness of how personal, digital data is used and shared. This will only increase as more systems go online that collect and process transactional information (for example smart meters which will keep tabs on our gas and electricity usage in real time).
Such transparency should begin to raise more questions from consumers, such as why was this data collected, questioning how much data was collected, and so on. This level of control becomes important to allow consumers to make informed choices, and ultimately extract real value from their data.
There are a number of innovative organizations that clearly recognize the merit in this approach by allowing consumers the ability to ‘sell’ one’s data for monetary compensation. This ‘Personal’ Data Economy could represent not only value to the consumer, but also those companies that are looking to purchase such data, and effectively identify very real sales opportunities.
In 2011, the World Economic Forum (WEF) cited “Personal data is the new oil of the internet and the new currency of the digital world”. Based on investigations from the Information Commissioner’s Office, many organizations were clearly aware of its value, but now it’s time to let consumers in on the secret.
Microsoft has unveiled another new service aimed at wresting market share from Apple, this time in the digital media space, with Xbox Music pitched as a clear challenge to Apple's iTunes store.
Microsoft unveiled Xbox Music on Monday, mere weeks before the release of its first own-brand tablet, the Surface, also seen as an attempt by the firm to battle against Apple's roaring success in the tablet space.
Microsoft's Xbox Music service will include a free streaming music service that will offer users free on-demand access to tens of millions of songs.
Customers will also be able to pay £8.99 per month for an Xbox Music Pass which grants ad-free access to the entire subscription catalogue, a pound less than the same offering from Swedish firm Spotify.
Traditionally, Microsoft has struggled to capture the digital media market from competitors, with its Zune service made up of significantly less users than iTunes.
This is mainly due to the low market share of tablet and smartphone devices running Microsoft's operating systems.
Despite these past failures, analysts were fairly optimistic about Xbox Music's ability to help boost sales of the flagship Windows RT Surface tablet.
"Windows 8/RT, which includes Surface, requires a compelling music service," Gartner analyst Michael Gartenberg told V3.
"By creating an unlimited streaming service for Windows 8, Microsoft not only shows that there's differentiation, but also value in that differentiation."
Quocirca analyst Clive Longbottom said Microsoft fans would also be keen to use a tool from the firm for their music services, rather than a rival's platform.
"For those who do go the whole Microsoft hog (PC, tablet, phone), iTunes won't be their tool of choice anyway, so the Xbox set of tools will be the core for them," he told V3.
Beyond this, though, Longbottom questioned Xbox Music's ability to compete with Apple's existing iTunes service, particularly as many people already have so much invested in the platform.
"With iTunes having been around for so long, unless there is some means of moving a person's music over, it means that users are likely to stick with iTunes," Longbottom argued.
"Microsoft has got its work cut out in trying to get people to dump Apple kit and go for its Windows family."
Xbox Music will initially be released on the Xbox 360 games console on Tuesday, before later being rolled out on to the company's Windows 8, Windows RT and Windows Phone 8 operating systems when they're released later this year.
The service also features its own music store and a scan-and-match feature similar to Apple's iTunes Match.
It’s a bit of an understatement to say it’s going to be a big month for Microsoft. The company is moving quickly, and now it, quite literally, has its act together with the first national television commercial for the upcoming launch of its Surface tablet.
I’ll let you watch the spot, entitled “Movement”, without any further ado:
So what I’m getting from this is that whipping out a Surface tablet, which goes on sale on October 26th, induces visions of thug school girls, kungfu hip hop and old people kissing.
In addition to this commercial, Microsoft is launching an aggressive marketing campaign for the Surface. Street advertisements for the device have been cropping up for weeks now.
By Simon Sharwood, APAC Editor - Posted in Networks, 16th October 2012
A preview of research conducted by The American Assembly, a “national, non-partisan public affairs forum” attached to Columbia University, has found that file sharers who acquire music also pay for more tunes than their non-freeloading brethren.
Copy Culture in the US and Germany concludes “The biggest music pirates are also the biggest spenders on recorded music” and also suggests that “If absolute spending is the metric, then P2P users value music more highly than their non-P2P using, digital-collecting peers, not less.”
The research covered consumers in the US and Germany, using the same telephone surveys conducted for another study, Infringement and Enforcement in the US (PDF) ,an effort that in August 2011 conducted over 2000 telephone interviews in the USA.
Copy Culture finds that music collections are largest among the young, with the median number of songs hoarded falling from 1000 (USA) and 300 (Germany) for 18-29 year-olds to just 100 among 64-year-olds in both nations.
Younger folks are likely to have acquired more of those songs without paying for them, either by ripping, sharing with friends or illegal downloads.
Importantly, the study notes that sharing music among family and friends, either by ripping CDs or sharing files, is almost as prevalent as illegal downloads. That kind of copying, the study also notes, is not the subject of anti-sharing action by record companies or law enforcement authorities.
The study notes that emerging cloud music models, such as Microsoft's Xbox music service announced today, may make this kind of research moot.
“Most of the innovation in the music sector in the past several years has been an effort to (re)commercialize this demand for universal access through paid streaming services,” the study notes, describing those efforts as having had “some success” as “29% of those under 30 listen to ‘most or all’ of their music via streaming services. 11% have paid subscriptions.”
Mobile operator EE has announced its 4G network will be live by 30 October across 10 cities including London, Cardiff and Bristol as it seeks to carve out a dominant position in the UK market for superfast mobile broadband services.
Chief executive Olaf Swantee confirmed the launch in the wake of crunch talks between operators and the government that saw O2 and Vodafone agree not to take legal action against a decision to allow EE to launch 4G on its existing network.
This was in return for the auction and subsequent rollout of 4G on the 800MHz and 2.6GHz spectrums taking place six months earlier than was planned. That would allow EE's rivals to have networks live by the middle of 2013.
"This is a significant milestone for the UK and for the people and businesses of our country who will now be able to enjoy the huge advantages of superfast 4G technology for the first time," said Swantee.
EE has already touted the forthcoming availability of several top end handsets on its network, including both the iPhone 5 and the Samsung Galaxy S3, although has yet to announce how pricing for the next networks will be structured.
The firm had first announced its intention to have four cities online during October and the rest online by Christmas, but the plans to have 10 online by the end of the month shows the firm has been working hard to get everything in place for a rapid launch.
The full list of the 16 cities that will be online by Christmas our outlined below: